So you think you can dance your PhD?

5 October 2012

Peter Liddicoat (right) entered 'A Super-Alloy is Born' into the Dance Your PhD competition.
Peter Liddicoat (right) entered 'A Super-Alloy is Born' into the Dance Your PhD competition.

This is the fifth year of the international Dance Your PhD competition, organised by Science Magazine, which offers people who have undertaken a PhD an alternate way to explain their topic.

This year University of Sydney scholar Dr Peter Liddicoat, from the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis has entered with the work 'A Super-Alloy is Born'.

His thesis discovered the internal structure of a high-strength aluminium alloy. He is joined in the video by colleagues from the Centre and from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science.

The competition's aim is to turn a graduate work into an interpretative dance that anyone can understand. It also presents itself as a solution to the awkward reaction many people experience when they try to explain their PhD topic.

"After the first words out of your mouth, people's eyes go wide with panic. They barely understand what you're saying. To explain your research, you have to lead your audience across a minefield of jargon. Before you can unpack it all, someone has changed the subject," the magazine explains.

The answer was to ask a scientist and their colleagues to 'dance their PhD'.

Finalists in each of the four categories of Dance Your PhD -- physics, chemistry, biology, and social sciences -- win $500.

The grand-prize winner receives an additional $500 plus a free trip to Belgium and accommodation to be crowned the winner at TEDxBrussels, one of the largest gatherings of artists and scientists in the world, on 12 November.

Watch Peter Liddicoat's entry 'A Super-Alloy is born'.

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